Fundraising saves historic Big Island theater

Fundraising saves historic Big Island theater

HONOLULU (AP) - A historic theater in Honokaa will stay open.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports more than 500 local families donated to save the Honokaa People's Theatre, which opened in the 1930s when Honokaa was a plantation town.

The effort also received a boost from the Big Island Resource Conservation and a $30,000 donation for renovations from Kona resident Scott Jones.

The original theater owners were the Tanimoto family. The Keeney family took over in the early 1980s.

Hamakua Sugar Co. closed in 1990 but the theater stayed open, hosting movies, poetry slams, dance shows, concerts and high school productions.

Phaethon Keeney says the theater got word this year that to stay open, it would need a $60,000 digital projector.

An online crowd-sourcing campaign and raised $120,000 in 60 days.

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